Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2019
Last Updated: 05 July 2019
by Vera NYGARD
This year’s ACIG focused on “Inclusive Growth post 2020: looking at the Future of Social Europe”. As the transition of the new European Commission and European Parliament draws near, the conference came at a crucial time. The European Pillar of Social Rights, the 2030 Agenda and the new multiannual financial framework were in focus throughout the conference.
For the TSA to Consider/Support
- Identify what contributions does the TSA make towards the SDG’s
- Homelessness: call for more affordable social housing and a commitment to eradicating homelessness. Diversifying by developing housing first accommodation.
- Migrants need access to labour market earlier, so they can stand on their own feet.
- Systematic humanitarian support for undocumented migrants, their basic human rights are being completely ignored.
- Develop wider partnerships and wider conversations, to move forward.
The conference was opened by Joost Korte, Director-General, DG EMPL. Korte was very positive about was has been achieved so far in regards to the Social Pillar and stressed that it has been implemented with success. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, shared Korte’s view and said that the Commission has done what it said it would do three years ago, thanks to the efforts of civil society. “With the Social Pillar, we brought Social into the heart of Europe”, Thyssen remarked. Even though we are still far from the Europe 2020 goal, there are some successes achieved through the Pillar that need to be highlighted: for instance, the unemployment rate is now the lowest since the start of the century. The whole of Europe is committed to the Pillar and the member states are keeping their promises.
Elena Solomonesc, Ministry of Labour and Social Justice, Romania, spoke about respecting the rights of the most vulnerable people as the only way to achieve any tangible results. It is also necessary to support inclusive growth, by enhanced competitiveness and by implementing the Social Pillar. Human resources are key. It is essential to analyse the impact of Europe 2020 in order to know what to improve. Solomonesc reminded the audience that we need to ask ourselves what is important for the European citizen and how MS can do more for social protection of its people.
Workshop: Social services; integrated approaches as a mean to deliver the European Pillar of Social Rights.
This workshop examined how integrated approaches help to deliver the principles of the Pillar, and whether the Pillar can help improve the coordination between different administrative levels and amongst different stakeholders. The participants discussed sample practices and their transferability, to help formulate recommendations for authorities on different levels.
Some of the results of the discussions in the workshop were:
- Most principles can be delivered through integrated approaches – key overlaps (education, employment, work-life balance, gender equality..)
- Availability, accessibility and quality of services remain key.
- Ensure a rights-based approach (e.g. housing first) and monitor progress.
- Participation and empowerement; co-production with users.
- Coordinate budgets to deliver on integrated services.
- Include all stakeholders in a sustainable dialogue (social dialogue).
Side-Event 4 : Out of box solutions for the locked out : How can the EU foster innovation to address homelessness and housing exclusion ?
This side-event was based on the “Housing Solutions Platform” initiative. It brought together cross-sectoral actors to discuss innovative housing solutions and cooperation between the actors dedicated to solving the housing crisis in Europe. Some questions discussed were: How to foster cooperation across sector to foster the emergence of housing systems? How can out-of-box housing solutions guarantee right to decent housing?
Some of the different housing solutions presented were:
Czech Social Housing
Social housing is now strongly on the political agenda. It has been promoted in media and gained much support amongst general public. Cooperation with different actors is key. You should analyse the situation thoroughly before implementation.
Results: more than 2000 people supported. Currently working on housing first projects.
CALICO, which stands for 'Care and Living in Community', will be built over the next two years in Forest. In concrete terms, it consists of 33 dwellings, divided into three groups. All of these homes will be developed through the Community Land Trust. This formula makes available housing that is and will remain affordable for low income. This will prevent gentrification of the areas.
Housing for unaccompanied migrant young adults. Co-housing with Flemish youngsters.
Joost Korte, DG EMPL, closed the conference on a positive note:
“I don’t believe in preaching doom and gloom, Europe is in fact doing quite well and we should be proud of it.” Korte listed seven points to work towards:
- SDGs & Social Pillar. We need a global strategy that is inclusive and long-term
- Answer to digitalization is investing in skills. Business and education fields need more cooperation.
- Integrated and flexible social services. Updating of the institutions.
- Disability strategy. Issue of values, but also of economic interest. We cannot afford leaving them behind.
- European semester. Unemployment has gone down, but people express something else. Are the figures we have the right ones? Are we looking at the wrong things?
- Money. 101 billion budgeted for ESF.
- Communication. How can we communicate better? We need civil society for this, you know how to advocate on local and regional levels.
“The Pillar will continue to be used, it’s the compass. We will put what you’ve said today on the next commissioner’s desk”, concluded Korte.Europe